The definition of Father: A man in relation to his natural child or children. With Father's day fast approaching I feel compelled to share a bit about my past and how it has lead to my children's future with a GREAT man they will always call Dad and the Grandfather they are so blessed to have.
The Early Years
Growing up I did not have a father/daughter relationship worth bragging about. My dad was irrational and unpredictable. As a child I learned early on to fear the one man that I should have felt secure with. To this day I have images burned in my psyche of abusive episodes, no child should ever endure or remember. I will not subject you to the many unsettling memories that haunt my childhood either. Luckily, (after the age of seven) I was protected from years of abuse by an early divorce and relocation to a new State with my mother's older sister. One of the best parts about this living arrangement was the fact that I would become part of a family dynamic that proved a Daddy's love did not consist of torment and guilt. As a young girl and even into adolescence I attempted to repair a damaged relationship with my dad. Many a tear was shed over the mental anguish he inflicted on my mind as a growing girl. Thankfully, my uncle was right there to pick up the broken pieces of my heart and carefully place them back together with his corny jokes, questions about my day (every day), kisses goodnight and everything in between.
My teenage years came and went. My Uncle was the father figure that existed fulltime and my dad would continue to make cameo visits, every now and then. In the back of my mind, I always wondered if my father would ever decide to be a parent to me. Living with my Aunt and Uncle truly gave me the best insight into a Father's role in a child's life as they had three children of their own, while raising me. I watched as my Uncle stepped in as Coach for each of us in extra curricular activities. We spent many, many, MANY hours at the dinner table practicing math, reading and spelling skills ( I struggled with literacy and math but that is another story). This man, had stepped in and taken over as " Father" on his own and for this I was extremely grateful. No matter what, I knew I could count on him to wake me in the morning for school and send me off with a warm wish for a good day. I also knew that he would always be there when I laid my head to rest. There is not one time (that I can remember) that he went to bed without attempting to make any wrongs in our small arguments right. No matter how angry I made him in my teenage years or with my silly fits of rebellion, he always let me know his love was constand and unconditional. It was clear after my teenage years that this man would never walk out on me as my own Father had done.
Choosing For My Children
It took me a great while to find my match because I was searching for the "right" qualities in all the wrong people. I believe that I was choosing wrong due to the damage done by my Father early on. Once this clicked, I knew that it was time to be smarter about the relationships I held with men. It became very important to me that I needed to find a man who would work hard and as well as invested in his family. When I met my husband, it was clear, he WAS "the one". This was the man that my Uncle could drink a beer with for many years. Something about the way he carried himself told me they would actually enjoy good conversation together, immediately. Most importantly, I knew that this man would take care of me forever and my Uncle could finally rest assured that I had a good man. A man that would not turn his back to me, ever. The day my Uncle gave me away, I relieved myself of my need to mend my damaged bond with my Father. A declined invite to my wedding was enough to end my efforts indefinitely.
My heart is full with content when I watch my husband interact with my children. I know that there will never be a day that my babies wonder if their daddy loves them. With Father's Day fast approaching, I can only think that I have been blessed to have found such a magnificent man to provide as Daddy to my daughter and son. My heart is especially overwhelmed when I think about the relationship they will share. There is no doubt in my mind that my daughter will be able to rest at night, confident that her Father will be there for her in all the days that follow, just as my Uncle had been for me.